Okay, let’s get the structure of things out of the way first. Season 3 of Heroes begins with “Volume Three: Villains”, which will last for 13 episodes, and then will presumably be followed by “Volume Four” in the second half of the season. This week, we actually got the first two episodes instead of just one — “The Second Coming” and “The Butterfly Effect.” And since I watched it all in one sitting, I don’t honestly remember what exactly happened in which hour, so if it’s fine with everybody else, I’m just going to lump it all together.
FULL RECAP AHEAD (don’t read if you haven’t watched it yet) …
Picking up where the Season 2 finale left off, we see that Nathan is shot by Future Peter in order prevent him from revealing the existence of superhumans, but Nathan doesn’t die, because Invisible and/or Imaginary Linderman (not God) heals him, and somehow by doing this, Future Peter screws up the future — in which superhumans are persecuted and Claire is evil — even more than it already was, and is reminded of this about 50 times by Mama Petrelli, whose power is to dream the future.
Niki is now Tracy Strauss, a governor’s assistant, who convinces Nathan to run for the Senate, and who doesn’t actually remember she’s Niki (if she actually IS Niki), but has some kind of new super-freeze power (which she uses to kill the Greatest American Hero, William Katt) that’s not consistent with anything we’ve ever seen her use before … and doesn’t explain why she’s not dead.
Future Peter struggles to find a way to fix the future he broke, morphing himself to hide his scar, sending Present Peter to Level 5 for safe keeping by trapping him inside the body of a superpowered bad guy, and sending Matt Parker to the middle of a desert in Africa, where Matt imagines talking to a turtle and is rescued by a man who can apparently paint the future the way Isaac did.
Hiro gets bored, and opens a safe that his dead father specifically tells him from beyond the grave not to open, finds half of a very important formula that can destroy the world, and it gets stolen from him by a blonde speedster chick named Daphne, who can move equally as fast as Hiro makes time move slow (because he’s apparently not stopping time, just making it move really slowly).
Hiro jumps ahead to the future to see what the implications of not finding the formula are, witnesses some kind of cataclysm overtaking Tokyo, as well as a superpowered Ando killing him, and holds it against Ando’s present self, while the two of them travel to France to recover the formula half from Daphne, who says she’s about to steal the other half … and they follow her some more.
Mohinder deduces from talking to Maya that superpowers are contained in adrenaline, not in blood, extracts some from Maya, synthesizes a serum that will give anybody powers, takes it himself, and proceeds to go all BrundleFly (refer to “The Fly” starring Jeff Goldblum) — displaying super strength, super speed, super appetite, super libido, super arrogance, and super grossness by peeling off of chunks of flesh on his back.
Sylar finds Claire, chases her around the house for a bit, catches her, pops the top of her skull off, pokes around in her brain (but does NOT eat it) while philosophizing, and takes (but does not steal) her healing power, then puts her skull top back on, and while Claire heals, tells her that he hasn’t bothered to kill her because she can’t die ever … and now neither can he.
Sylar heads to Level 5, kills Elle’s father, takes his Midas power, tries to kill Elle and HRG, but Elle zaps him, HRG escapes along with a dozen other inmates (including Not-Peter), Mama Petrelli takes charge of the facility, fires Elle, and tells an incapacitated Sylar that she is his mother … which therefore makes him the brother of Nathan, Peter, and Claire — officially THE most dysfunctional family ever.
HRG goes home, but only to get his files, so that he can hunt down the villains who got loose from Level 5, and Claire, who is concerned that she can no longer feel pain, wants to go with him, but HRG has arranged for Claire’s real mother, the firestarter, to babysit and protect the family, and my guess is that HRG will team up with the now disenfranchised Elle.
Annnd … yeah. I think that’s pretty much it. Did I miss anything?
Overall, I was very happy with both of these episodes. And I’m glad to see that Tim Kring wasn’t blowing smoke up our asses when he said he’d be answering some questions. Moments like Sylar telling Claire that the idea of eating brains was disgusting was a clear nod from Kring to the fans. As was finally telling us what Mama Petrelli’s power is. As for what’s the deal with Invisible and/or Imaginary Linderman and Different/Not-Dead Niki — and where’s Micah? — it remains to be seen. But I thought it was a strong start to the new season! In fact, I would call it a “Second Coming” of sorts for the series. (See how I did that?)
Speaking of which, here’s the poem that the title of the first episode is based on, which Mohinder recites at the end of the episode, in case anybody wants to mine it for clues. From a tonal standpoint, It certainly seems to be setting the stage for this volume of the story …
The Second Coming
by William Butler Yeats
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the center cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?